Cleansing is an essential step in any skincare regime, but do you know which type of cleanser is actually doing your skin a favor? First and foremost, the cleanser you choose should be gentle, fragrance-free, and thoroughly cleanse your skin without drying it out. Beyond that, you’ll need to consider your skin type: oily or dry, or a combination. This guide can help determine the most effective cleanser for you!
By Mary Beth Wallace
Boasting a thick gel consistency, gel formulas are designed for deep cleaning; they remove excess oils from the skin and decongest clogged pores.
Pros: It gives skin a deeper clean while preventing future breakouts.
Best for: Oily skin / Combination skin
The idea behind an oil-based formula is that oil attracts oil, meaning it can dissolve grease and makeup without drying out the skin. Many experts recommend using oil cleansers as a first step, following up with another product such as a foam cleanser.
Pros: It’s hydrating and an effective makeup remover.
Best for: Most skin types
Just as its name suggests, cream-based cleansers are creamy and dense – making them excellent moisturizers and cleansers. For your softest skin, look for a cream cleanser that is formulated with replenishing oils.
Pros: It gently removes makeup and cleanses without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
Best for: Dry skin / Sensitive skin / Mature skin
Popular in France for decades, this water-based cleanser is free of oil, soap, and alcohol. The micelles (tiny oil molecules) work to lift dirt, oil, and makeup off the surface of the skin. Micellar water can be applied with a cotton pad.
Pros: There’s no rinsing or rubbing required.
Best for: Dry skin / Sensitive skin / Acne-prone skin
Foaming cleansers are typically accompanied by a pump dispenser, and the foamy lather is great for removing oil and makeup. Some foam formulas can be harsher on skin than others, so it’s best to avoid altogether if you have dry skin.
Pros: A little foaming cleanser goes a long way in keeping skin feeling clean and refreshed.
Best for: Oily skin / Acne-prone skin HS